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October 2020 by Pastor Ken Berve
Turning to The Spirit in Times of Turmoil
“I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power…” 1 Cor. 2:3-4
The Apostle Paul was such an important part of the rise of the early church and the teachings and doctrines that affect our Christian theology every day. But it was his ability to touch the average reader with passionate yet humble words which amaze me.
Too often we can get tied up in the complexities of faith and religion. I have to believe that Paul was experiencing the frustration of seeing the people he loved being twisted and confused by forces from within and without their community. I’m sure that being a small band of believers in a busy, modern port city like Corinth was difficult enough; surrounded by business and people from throughout the world. Roman, Jewish, and many other religious influences were the norm. Then bring in the other Christian missionaries and teachers that were also journeying through those regions. Many teaching confusing and contradicting beliefs. Not unlike our modern world, fear and confusion must have seemed overwhelming to the small Church at that time.
And let us not forget the nature of humans to fight and turn on one another when going through stressful of frightening circumstances. The debates and arguments within the church in Corinth were such a problem, Paul felt the need to answer them in at least two letters.
So here is Paul, writing to the body of believers to instruct them on basic matters of being the church, but also to remind them that the power of the Gospel lies in the mystery of God’s redeeming love for the world, and in a simple message of grace. The Gospel is power in and of itself, fully understood only when we let the Holy Spirit humble us and build us up again.
In these seemingly crazy and confusing times, when we may feel overwhelmed ourselves, trust that God is in charge, the Gospel is still our foundation, and the Holy Spirit will still carry us through!
Daily Message from Pastor Ken
Monday, March 30, 2020
February 2020 by Pastor Ken Berve
“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” ~1 Corinthians 13:13 (NRSV)
What’s the big deal about Valentine’s Day?
Popular history tells us that Valentinus was a priest in Rome during the reign of Claudius II. He was caught marrying Christians, which was illegal and against Roman standards, and was arrested. When he refused to deny Christ or swear allegiance to the emperor he was beheaded, supposedly on February 14, around 270 AD. How romantic!
He soon became the patron saint of young people and lovers.
Valentinus’ devotion to supporting love among Christians is an example of God’s passionate love for all humankind. Scattered throughout the Bible are reminders of God’s love; from the Creation itself to 1st John’s reminder that “God is love.”
As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this month, let us remember that love itself, in its many, many forms, is a gift from God to all of humanity. Where would we be without the love of friends, family, community, nation, stranger, and, yes, romantic love, too.
Here is a new way to look at the popular words from John 3:16, and remember that it was written as God’s Valentine to the world, to you, and me! Jesus said:
“For God so loVed the world
That He gAve
Believe In Him
Shall Not perish,
But have Everlasting life.”
Grace and Peace,
January 2020 by Pastor Ken Berve
Starting a New Year from the Genesis
“So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. God blessed them…God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.” Genesis 1:27-28, 31 (NRSV)
The Year of our Lord 2019 is officially over!
For some it was a rough year, full of challenges and loss. For others it was a good year full of blessings and hope. I imagine that, for most of us, it was a year full of both good and tough experiences. Wherever we landed in the last year, it is now over and we have a New Year’s worth of good and bad times ahead of us to look forward to!
So, what better way to start 2020 than with a sermon series diving into the Book of Genesis, and reflecting on the back and forth, up and down stories that tell of the beginning of our relationship with our Creator?
Inspired by the book, “Genesis of Grace” by John Indermark, I would like to spend the six weeks before we begin Lent, exploring the complicated and often frustrating relationship humankind and God have had since the beginning. From the creation story that ended with “very good”, to the fall and ousting of Adam and Eve, the Flood, Abraham and his offspring, and the beginning of a nation…in slavery.
And all that in just the first Book of the Bible!
Also, to start the new year off, keep an eye out for our updated website and Facebook pages! We hope they will be a useful resource for everyone who is a member and anyone who wants to know more about our community.
Here’s to a wonderful New Year for everyone and may God richly bless His church throughout the coming months.
Grace and Peace,
“May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity. ~Psalm 122:6-9
December 1st begins again the Church’s Liturgical Calendar and the first Sunday in Advent. Each Sunday is marked with a particular theme – peace, hope, joy, and love – and this year we begin the season with the wish for peace.
The Psalmist is raising prayers and praise for the people of Israel and all those visiting the Temple in Jerusalem. And, like most of us, he is hoping for peace for those he loves the most; his family and friends.
Hopefully, many of us celebrated Thanksgiving surrounded by the peace and love of family and friends. But for some, the holidays are dreaded because we know personal or political arguments will haunt the festivities. And throughout the world peace is rare and desperately needed. It may seem as though the world is increasingly divided, partisan, and hostile. That is, after all, the way the world and humanity has always been.
The question for us is, how do we remain peace filled in the middle of these storms? How do we remain calm, focused, and most of all hopeful when surrounded by the din of discord? Where do we get the strength to remain above it all and not be pulled into the craziness?
There is really only one answer.
This time of year we remember the title given by the Prophet Isaiah and repeated in the Gospel stories; Jesus, the “Prince of Peace”, born to bring light and salvation into this dark and broken world. Prayer, praise, meditation, and mission help keep us focused on what is truly important; loving God and loving neighbor, whether friend, foe, or family! It is our call as His disciples to BE the peace the world so desperately needs!
Grace and Peace,